Fazal Masood Malik and Farhan Khokhar, Canada
1,300 years had passed since the Holy Prophetsa left this Earth. 13 centuries had elapsed and 12 reformers corrected the course of Islam when the love of Allah sent a prophet, the Promised Messiahas, to save Islam from slow demise. The Holy Prophetsa had brought faith to its completion, and now, his servant, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiahas busied himself in its propagation.
Economics existed at the beginning of civilisation. From the time of the first barter, it evolved into a complex beast that runs the world today. After centuries of human thought leading to one economic policy after another, the guiding principles that were grounded in ethics and taught by the Holy Prophetsa now stood ready for implementation for the entire world to benefit from.
The Holy Prophetsa and his Khulafa applied the Islamic economic principles tuned to the specific needs of governance in 7th century Arabia and its trade across borders. Over time, many Muslim scholars and jurists advanced the policies according to their understanding. At the turn of the 20th Century, the world’s population stood at five times that of the 7th Century (1 Billion vs. 226 Million). The problems and challenges multiplied by thousands.
The Promised Messiahas penned The Will in 1905. Where it is filled with timeless guidance, one critical piece of advice stands out: economic well-being and the rights of humanity. The Holy Prophetsa not only taught us but showed us through his blessed example that the role of economics and the role of wealth is to ensure the rights of fellow human beings are not infringed upon. As the Holy Quran teaches us, wealth is owned by God (Surah al-Jathiyah, Ch.45: V.13-14; Surah Ibrahim, Ch.14: V.33-34), not men or women; a fundamental difference in economic thinking presented by Islam.
The Promised Messiahas continued the organisation of financial sacrifices as established by the Holy Prophetsa. Through the institution of Wasiyyat, he established a blessed source of funds dedicated to humanity’s spiritual, physical and economic needs.
He established a mechanism in which funds would come in, not only for people in need but also for institutional needs, including langar, schools and publication. He created an economic process where people can contribute, indicating specific areas for using that money or contributing to general funds. From the humble beginnings, where a few members participated in Wasiyyat, to the institution of Tahrik-e-Jadid, the scheme has now been established on all continents.
The Promised Messiahas envisioned that the entire world would get the message of Islam. To do that, he established the fundamental source of income for the Jamaat, which was institutionalised as Wasiyyat. Such a system of continuous support of welfare projects through a share in the estate of the deceased is a critical step for the future of the world economy.
It may strike the reader as odd. How can Wasiyyat be the building block of humanity’s future?
The answer lies in understanding how funds are tethered, how contracts are binding and what impact this can have on the direction of any administration.
A government tethered to the electoral system is a viable option in the developed world. However, a government or a corporation is beholden to the whims of the electorate or shareholders. In most instances, the taxpayer can dictate short and long-term projects. On the flip side, it holds the government accountable to the taxpayer. With this accountability come the chains. For example, if the government decides to dedicate 50% of its budget to help the afflicted, following a calamity outside its political boundaries, there would be an uproar. Although moral in nature, it would cause the taxpayer to rightfully question the origin of funds and the extent of budget cuts in their existing community. Regardless, in a situation of national emergencies, states will take action despite the objection of the taxpayers. Current high spending (during Covid-10), mainly on borrowed money, is an example where the state is overstretching itself for the greater public good.
On the other hand, tethered services are driving consumers’ loyalty in the 21st Century. Tethered services help further technical innovation while also creating room for monopolies and oligopolies. Recent examples of organisations (e.g. Amazon.com), where other competitors are driven out through predatory practices, are an example of successful companies.
Wasiyyat, however, is untethered to the dictates of its donors, but heavily dependent on a key driving factor: the moral clause.
The moral clause advocated by the institution of Wasiyyat is significant in driving the funds towards the cause of humanity. It ensures no personal gains are to be had by the person or authority entrusted on behalf of the donor. It also places the onus on the authorised party to ensure that the adequate needs of the underprivileged are met. For such an untethered-tethered system to work, grounding and utmost belief in the hereafter is centrally critical. A fractured belief only results in an outward conviction and helps bring down the entire system.
Worldly charitable organisations express their expenses in cents on the dollar, i.e., how much is used as overhead versus how much goes to the cause for each dollar donated. By the sheer grace of Allah, Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya reports the other way. During a visit by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIIrh to Africa in the 70s, he was asked how it was possible to do all the work the Jamaat does with their donations. The interviewer was surprised at the amount of work versus donation ratio. Huzoorrh responded with a guiding principle. He said that his one penny did the work of a dollar. This exponential growth is due to the volunteer work, purity of faith and blessings of Allah. (Daily Mail, Freetown, 6 May 1970)
For Wasiyyat to work worldwide, a moral revolution must occur. A step in global dominance to achieve the purity of heart is Tahrik-e-Jadid. Instituted by the second Khalifa of Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra, the primary function of Tahrik-e-Jadid is to help propagate the message of Islam Ahmadiyyat around the world and help people of moral dominance to enter the fold, on their own accord. Once this task is successfully completed and Wasiyyat becomes fully active, the funds raised would be sufficient to change the socio-economic condition of the world. The funds for Wasiyyat are untethered and given voluntarily by the donor. For the world to reach this stage, new world order is needed, not the kind that takes power from one and passes to another, but the kind that makes each person accountable for their deeds. Wasiyyat demands nothing less than absolute accountability and purity of conscience; only then will the new world order be established, and only then will poverty and inequality succumb to the depth of an eternal abyss.
Being a spiritual leader, the Promised Messiahas spoke of the general theory of economics and emphasised that the most important thing, an all-encompassing belief, is the fundamental Islamic principle that finances belong to God. Any economic system which does not reconcile with this principle is bound to fail. We are simply custodians of that wealth which ultimately belongs to God and has been given to us in trust.
The role of Wasiyyat is not to function as an operational budget for the government but as the primary tool of socio-economic activity. As the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat is not a political organisation, the funds raised by Wasiyyat will be used at the discretion of the office of Khilafat, under guidance from God Almighty. These funds are untethered and do not follow any political or social agenda other than the directives of the Holy Quran (see part II of this series titled Ethics and Islamic Economics for further information).
Over 100 years have passed since the system of Wasiyyat was developed (in 1908), and Tahrik-e-Jadid was brought in as a bridge (in 1938). The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat has, since its inception, developed an enterprise-ethos that propels its growth, attracting many to selflessly devote their time towards the cause of humanity.
Doctors, engineers and volunteers get together to help where they can, delivering the future to those for whom the light dwindles. In the following articles, we look at how the donations raised by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat are utilised and explore the proof that willingly donated funds utilised under guidance from Khilafat can perform miracles.
The Will (Al-Wasiyyat) by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas
Inqilab-e-Haqiqi (Urdu) by Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmadra
Africa Speaks, Majlis Nusrat Jahan Tahrik-e-Jadid